Breaking Past Being a No-Name Author: Second Book Syndrome

Yeah. That thing–or perhaps you’ve never heard of it. Well then Google it. Actually do just that even if you have. There’s some amusing stuff out there.

Anyway, with the release of the second book in my fantasy trilogy sometime in the next week, I’m both excited and nervous. When I wrote the first book, I was this ignorant eighteen-year-old who didn’t know how to write or tell stories, freshly bitten by the writer’s bug, and who wanted to share her imagination with the whole world. Had that whole googly-eyed passion for what I was doing/creating. I was completely oblivious to how merciless and harsh the literary industry is. How I sometimes wish I could go back to that naive happiness… Well, life goes on and you work with what you have, what you know, and even with what you don’t know. The key is to never assume anything, especially that what you want to achieve is impossible.

I’m excited for the release of Courage because this book has been waiting forever for its turn. Readers will get to see my learning curve in action: tighter writing, richer characters, more creativity, stronger story, things like that. I’m really passionate about this trilogy, so much that I’ll finish it even if no one reads it. Yes, it’d hurt my heart to have no one to share it with, but I’m writing this story for so many reasons, some I understand, and some I can’t explain. Not sure how to explain it. It’s gotta be a writer thing. I don’t think it can be understood in words; just feelings.

I’m scared about the book’s release not exactly because of second book syndrome, but rather because it is the second book. Fantasy trilogies follow a certain structure with minor variations. The first books is all introductions and setting the stage, and preparing for the story to take off. Book two kicks into high gear. It’s a bridge between one and three. Backstory is unveiled here, since there wasn’t room for it in the first one. There’s less explaining and more doing, and the story makes leaps and bounds. The third tome focuses all energy on drawing everything to a satisfying conclusion. There’s little room for backstory. It’s all about what the characters want and how they’re gonna get it, now that all relevant information is in place for the story to drive home. Loose ends are tied up, or maybe the author purposely leaves a few threads untouched to make way for a sequel. That’s dangerous, though. It’s harder to write a series than it is a trilogy. There’s only one series so far that I’ve read that done a spectacular job of structuring a story to stretch to four-plus books.

Courage has a lot of back story but it’s all there for a reason. There are also a few new characters who take turns steering the POV, something I will never do again. I think there’s a healthy limit to a number of characters controlling the POV of the story. Despite George R.R. Martin’s success, I skip whole chapters of certain characters because I’ve simply reached my saturation point. Still, one beauty of fiction is being able to write a story from multiple POVs. I’ll find something that works for me.

Out of ten test readers for Courage, I’ve had an 80% approval rating. The book is divided into thirds and part one was difficult for two of them to get through, but the rest of the book got better and better. I’ve considered shuffling content around and even cutting things, but I wholeheartedly believe that the story will feel like it’s missing something if I make some cuts. My gut says I’ve got the story right. Maybe there’s a more skillful way to execute it, but in all honesty, no author is every going to get a 100% approval rating. I’m saving myself the frustration of vainly trying for 100% and sticking with the story I’m happy with.

And with the release of Courage there will be a five-day free book promo. So, if you’re not sure about trying a new author, I welcome you to take advantage of the promo. I will announce when it’ll take place once my ePublisher lets me know. For now, here is the lovely cover art and book two’s synopsis:


With the last two Aigis out of the way, Nexus’s war can begin.

Aerigo’s entire life has been building towards a confrontation with Nexus, and he’s managed to avoid it, until now. If he’s to stand a chance, he must face the demons of his past and unlock the power that can defeat a god. While he battles with himself, Roxie fights for her life against an enemy attacking her mind and body, a fight she must win alone.

Baku’s divine family is in ruins. His wife is lost to him and his son has become a monster. It’s uncertain if Nexus can be saved, or if he’s been tainted beyond redemption by an outside source. As the armies of hundreds of gods gather on Nexus’s realm, time is running out.

And stay tuned. There will be a bonus chapter that I’ll publish via my blog. It’s one I had to cut since it didn’t support the central plot in any way, but it was too enjoyable to shred.


About Angela Macala-Guajardo

Author, teacher, soon-to-be full time writer for two companies. Also a lover life in the Arizona desert, puppy butt wiggles, and kitties purring away on my shoulder.
This entry was posted in author, happiness, life's journey, Uncategorized, writing, writing tips and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Breaking Past Being a No-Name Author: Second Book Syndrome

  1. Wow, fantastic blog layout! How long have you been blogging for?
    you make blogging look easy. The overall look of your site is great, as
    well as the content!

  2. I just want you to know how very much I loved your first novel, and absolutely could not wait to read “Courage.” I enjoyed them in different ways, by being emotionally drawn into “Courage” and captivated by the action scenes in ” Strength”. You may think you didn’t “write tight”, but there was not a single moment when I wasn’t completely engrossed. Btw, I’m 43. My 13-yr old son enjoyed both books, too. We can’t wait for the third. 🙂

    I never would have guessed your age, and am blown away by your talent. Never, ever, quit writing.

    • smwelles says:

      Wow, thank you. The third book is done and I’m slowly getting lots of feedback that will hopefully make it a satisfying conclusion 🙂

  3. Reblogged this on 365 Days of Night and commented:
    I posted a book review of S.M.Welles first novel, and am reblogging her own post about the second. Guess I’ll have to write a review of it, too, but for now I will let her speak for herself. Prepare to be amazed when she mentions her age. We’ve got another Christopher Paolini here. 😉

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